20 Travelers I Follow (Part 1)

20 Travelers I Follow (Part 1)

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Before the travel bug bit me, there were only few travel blogs that I follow. I even used to question them on how they can afford to travel when most of them are full-time bloggers who just earn from ad payouts and sponsorships. Contrast it with someone who’s doing a nine-hour work inside the office but couldn’t buy travel tickets or take a leave.

But when I was immersed and learned the tricks in traveling, and eventually became a travel addict too, I appreciate them more. I stalk their profiles often. Their stories become relevant to me, genuine to me. And my bucket list continuously grows longer and seems will never end because of their influence.

I meet new kinds of travelers – mountaineers, photographers, couchsurfers, solo backpackers and even travelers who simply smell the flowers and don’t care about documenting. As my network of traveling friends expands, my perspective of the world changes. They become my source of inspiration in my own journeys. They are the models with itineraries to follow, with life lessons to take note of, and with mistakes even which I’m excited to replicate. Lels.

Brenna Bustamante

1. Brenna Bustamante

I always believe that girls will always find their ways in and out. She is a fine and living proof that the female species control the world. That’s why whenever we are with her in trips, we put her in the front line and let her do the talking. I’ve witnessed how her charms work in Baler, El Nido, Mt. Pinatubo, and Caramoan.

She discloses trade secrets in traveling in a budget if you ask her. I am always grateful that she passed the information about the major glitch in Air Asia X to us. Because of her generosity, I was able to join in a Maldivian dream trip that is used to be worth daydreams.

She is our madam. JustGo is her brainchild. Brenna blogs at Philippine Travelogue. The queen is also working with a flight booking agency that offers cheap alternatives. She inspires me to get more out of travel – both monetary and emotional returns. LOL.

Me with Brenna
Brenna, our other friends and I in Lajos Island in Caramoan

Robx Bautista

2. Robx Bautista

No other blogger would introduce his adventure like this: I didn’t expect to arrive in Sabtang as dry as my sexual life but there I was, a little disappointed because I over-prepared my emotions (I practiced screaming with poise) but Robx.

I first met him as Creative Dork (I as Facebuko) way back 2010 when both of us were recognized as emerging bloggers that year. Then just recently, as the Travelling Dork this time, he was one of the bloggers in the group that I joined in Maldives. And because we both hate a handful of certain things, we instantly click. We even had a dinner for two, yay, when we got lost from our group in Male. Fistbump, bro. LOL.

He inspires me to radiate happiness in sharing stories by injecting natural humor. And sometimes even making fun of oneself despite the misadventures. Interesting to note that while he is known with his humor, he got serious eyes on street photography to present depth in his subjects.

Me with Robx in Maldives
Robx (second from the right), our new friends, and I in Fihalhohi Island Resort in Maldives

Tsootsai Agape

3. Tsootsai Agape

Not her real name, Tsootsai is an ambassador and a pioneer in Couchsurfing Philippines. I found more respect for her because she is a doge lover, a teacher and a lifestyle writer. But with all these designations, for me, she is an OSOM mother Jane more than anything else.

And ever since I followed her, she’s taken me, along with other couchsurfers, to places in the Philippines in the least hassle and the most fun ways that we could get. She dreams of our group to quit our jobs and to do voluntourism to travel the world. (When will I get ready? Hmmm.)

She is humble that she would even apply for the secretarial position to my prospect businesses. She’s (too) qualified for that. I’ve never met someone who could arrange business and contracts among my contacts and myself in few minutes. That’s how powerful and resourceful she is.

She inspires me to be a behaved couchsurfer despite the fact how landi and emo I am. Lels. Seriously, she inspires me to leave everything comfortable behind for the love of travel.

Me with Tsootsai
The Couchsurfers Bulacan chapter in Boracay

David Guison

4. David Guison

He is a fashion blogger first, the only Filipino fashionista I follow. He writes a lot almost every day. He keeps his followers in the loop and closer to him. He inspires me to be very passionate in blogging. I witnessed how he became the David Guison today. And now that he also answered another calling to become a foodie and a travel blogger, more reasons to idolize this dude.

I like my blog to grow bigger and more awesome in my niche. One of the best perks in travel blogging is when sponsors pay your trips, your clothes or even your food. The fruits of hard work that David enjoy. And now that I already took off the mask of anonymity as Facebuko, am I ready to show also how to travel in style?

Me with David
Unplanned meeting at Hong Kong Disneyland

TJ Roque

5. TJ Roque

The real and only Jonas’ Brother in the world unless one of us is adopted. Sometimes there are persons you follow or observe, but only to take a different path from theirs later. Career and travel wise, we are almost the exact opposite. He has worked in multinational companies while I enjoy working in startups. He is the tourist and I am the backpacker.

Europe is his playground and he has scored a country managerial position, hooray, in Lingaro Philippines out of it. Except Maldives, he has been ahead of me in all countries that I’ve been. At least, I don’t have to buy in these places Starbucks tumblers that I collect because he would give me one first, with love, and for free.

Because I am the spontaneous type of traveler who books and just go, there are downfalls that I encountered out of that attitude. And watching my brother, he inspires me to prepare more. There are excitements in taking the path less travelled but I should also learn the benefits of security in familiar paths just like what my brother is following.

Me with TJ
At the Universal Studios Singapore

Sarreal Brothers

6. Sarreal Siblings

I’ve met two of the Sarreal siblings through mountain climbing. I witnessed how Guido and Jacob work hand in hand to help their causes through their traveling groups, TrailAdventours, Culture Shock PH and Kawil Tours. They inspire me to give back to the community. That even you have reached the highest summits, we should not forget to ground ourselves and reach out to people who are challenged to move forward in their lives.

Both of them are accomplished in their respective chosen paths. Guido has been a consistent finalist in several award-giving bodies that honor young entrepreneurs and heroes like Rappler’s Do More, Cobra Energy Drink Pinoy Heroes Award and Ten Outstanding Youth Organizations. Jacob has reached several summits out of the country that many had only dreamed about. He is a saxophone player and a National Music Competition for Young Artists winner.

Me with Jacob
Jacob Sarreal with the Trail Adventours participants including me in Taal Volcano Crater

Marcos Detourist

7. Ambot Ah

Before he became the Marcos Detourist today, I’ve been following his blog since the time when I needed a detailed itinerary in crossing country borders from Singapore to Malaysia. Because of the convenience of the itineraries he shared in his blog posts, it became my travel bible in my succeeding trips. Default Google search keywords: “[destination] itinerary ambot ah”. He inspires me to be a helpful travel blogger.

You know he’s a big name in Iloilo whenever resorts find out that he’s also the blogger behind Explore Iloilo and they will give him exclusive discount and free services.

Recently he joined a contest in Wego. While his attempt didn’t make it to the finals, his video, which has been viral around in my news feed, is well-liked in other tourism pages.

Simon Gonzaga

8. Simon Gonzaga

When most of us got our first paycheck, we decided to buy the latest gadget or sneakers. But Simon already knew and was already determined to unleash his inner wanderlust which was ignited even he’s still in college. His first paychecks = travels. Something that I wished I had also discovered earlier.

In most of his travels, he is always seen enjoying and surrounded by a new set of friends, fellow foreigners in other countries. He inspires me to interact with other nationalities and to work like a Philippines’ tourism ambassador of our country. I draw some inspirations also from his post-processed pictures ready to be shared with a travel quote.

Even though we have set of similarities, a fellow blogger and shutterbug, true-blooded backpacker and couchsurfer, with interests in scuba diving too, and both working in a concrete jungle, our paths haven’t crossed yet. Our GoPro selfie will happen.

Chartlon Milan

9. Charlton Milan

Unlike the other nine in this first half of the list, Tuntun doesn’t own a blog, a website or a web channel to share his adventures. Perhaps he got no time to put it on writing because his travels consume a lot. He is the most well-travelled guy that I’ve met in person. I am thankful that I already bestowed the Wandering Weekend Warrior title to me because he is also a rightful rival on that title. First, he once joined in the Weekend Warriors segment in Drew Arellano’s TV show Weekend Getaway. And second, for he travels non-stop both internationally and locally every week. He inspires me to travel around the seven continents of the world as soonest as possible.

It was fat chance that we caught him in Sagada because he’s practically everywhere before and after that trip. He already covered SouthEast Asia, Nepal and Middle East. You’d know he’s up to adventure again after his stopover for a regular caffeine fix in Starbucks.

Hopefully, this feature will convince him to write a blog.

Me with Tuntun
Switching photographer and model roles at the Marlboro Country in Sagada

Juan Direction

10. Juan Direction

It was 2012 when one of the boys tagged me to check their videos because of my fascination in buko. The YouTube webisode is about the foreigners (but actually Half-Filipinos) selling buko at the streets. They were producing videos as Island Media Asia then.

For me, the most notable episode that they filmed is their Nueva Vizcaya visit. I like to hear stories more from travelers who go to the offbeat paths. Imagine the struggle of the group of half-Pinoys who barely looks and speaks Filipino to an unfamiliar community. This struggle actually turns out to be the team’s novelty and strength.

As Island Media Asia production team, they host and produce the show, edit the videos and do magical things in post production, and publicize them all by themselves. All these things I do similarly in my all-in-one blog. They inspire me to push my Project 52 Weekends to become my own reality show.

After a handful of released videos, TV5 picked up the online show to become Juan Direction.

To be continued…

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